UK’s elderly population hit record high in 2019 amid increase in centenarians

The UK’s elderly population has reached a record high and the number of adults aged 100 rose by more than 10% in the space of a year, figures show.

There were 13,330 centenarians in 2019 – a 5.2% rise from 2018, while the number of adults aged 100 rose 11%, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates.

The number of people over 105, known as semi-supercentenarians, has also risen.

The number of males aged 105-plus has more than doubled in the last decade, while the number of females of this age has risen by around half.

The figures also show there were 605,181 people aged 90 and over in 2019, a 3.6% rise on the previous year and the highest level on record.

Just over twice as many women as men were alive at this age last year.

There was a 62% rise in the number of 99-year-olds alive in 2019 compared with the previous year – a result of a birth spike after the First World War.

Estimates of the very old are calculated from death registration data and occur at the mid-point of each year.

The analysis covers a period before the coronavirus outbreak.

Analysts say they expect the number of centenarians to rise sharply, as a result of the post-war baby boom, but that Covid-19 may influence this.

Rose Giddings, from the ONS’s Centre for Ageing and Demography, said: “The UK population aged 90 years and over grew to its largest size in 2019.

“Historical improvements to male life expectancy continued to narrow the gap between men and women in this age group to its lowest level on record, with around two women to every man.

“Despite a low number of births 100 years earlier, we saw an uptick in the number of people aged 100 years and over in 2019, due to medical advances and improvements in public health during their lifetime.

“The birth spike after World War One has resulted in an unusually large birth cohort who are aged 99 in our latest figures.”